Limits to Growth
- Publication date
- United Nations Television and New York State Dept. of Education. Released by Great Plains National ITV Library
Videotape on reel and videocassette also issued
With teacher's guide, by Osborn Segerberg, Jr
Executive producer, Peter Hollander
Examines the pros and cons of continued worldwide economic growth as compared to a leveling off of growth in population, capital investments, and material goods to the point of a steady economy
With teacher's guide, by Osborn Segerberg, Jr
Executive producer, Peter Hollander
Examines the pros and cons of continued worldwide economic growth as compared to a leveling off of growth in population, capital investments, and material goods to the point of a steady economy
- 2015-08-08 01:24:18
- My. Our riches and our numbers bedding the wote. Muhammad Murtha Murtha. Mercenary a no. If. You remember the dramatic pictures taken by the Apollo fires of the earth standing out in space all by itself no one. After seeing that could deny that the world is finite. Then it's impossible for people to go on saying we have an infinite supply of there an infinite supply of water an infinite supply of minerals. My own must learn to balance his activities in the church or against the regenerative power of nature or he is inevitably going to join the Tyrannosaurus in extinction. Murmur and. A mercenary. As we grow richer there is rising concern about pollution our ability to feed a growing population and fears that we may run out of fuel and metals. A computer at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology has been used to look at these problems to analyze in broad terms the direction in which our world is headed. Sponsored by a group of businessmen and academics the Club of Rome. Its conclusions are revolutionary. The most important lesson is that we're near the end of the development of society which we you know we've been going on for about two thousand years that we reach levels of prosperity which carries the seeds of disruption and necessitate a complete relook at the whole world social political and other situations. Telling us that the world is in a completely on the stable situation and is likely to fall to pieces if he doesn't stop growing. Let's put it bluntly. Option is not to between this kind of society presence aside and the stable states aside if it is between a stable state society and callous. The world is six billion years old. That is an imaginable so think of it as a weak. All through Sunday and most of Monday nothing much happened. Late. Monday night. A cell divides. Life has begun. To Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday and most of Saturday. Life becomes more complex and more beautiful. In a barren universe life on earth is being sustained by an increasingly stable and complex biology. At. Teatime on Saturday it is the age of the reptiles. At three minutes to midnight. Man appears. One second before midnight man the hunter. Becomes man the pharma. At one hundred years of the Second Amendment to the industrial revolution began. It is now midnight. In that lasts for two at the second we have started to get richer than ever increasing rate growth is explosive. Population now doubled in thirty years. Man Now you just twice as much energy she did fifteen years ago and industrial production is nearly seven in the last fifteen years. During this program. Men on the earth will consume two hundred thousand tonnes of the trolley M M two hundred thousand tonnes of coal produced two thousand motor cars and use four hundred million kilowatts of electricity. If we use known stocks the present rate there we know cos I left in two thousand and eight knows Inc in one thousand nine hundred five. No team in one thousand eight hundred nine and no mercury in one thousand nine hundred five there will be no silver without which we cannot make film in one thousand nine hundred seventy. Today we consume more than yesterday. Our children if they live as we do we use up resources more than twice as fast as we do. Our grandchildren might need twice as much oil as we found in Alaska just to meet their increased needs for one year. Such growth threatens to use up all the resources the has to offer us such as the enormous needs of the Industrial Society in progress the industrial revolution that has consumed thoughts conscious of fossil fuels for example and now there are many lists and it's as simple as that if you if you have a car and a society which is going to live the very planet will wrong if you don't consume it you will find he said there's nothing left. Industry the way we make things. Attack the fabric and stability of nature the ecosystem on which all life including man depend it has been developed to exploit the go system without taking into account its continued existence and our new technologies tend to disrupt ecological cycles to break them to intrude. Harmful troll materials cost them and therefore to destroy the base of its own existence because of that we are on a suicidal course. Industry cannot exist without the wrong material that you. Know can it function without the natural that it may be destroyed. All. So great progress but it may push the limits and beyond. We threaten a confrontation with nature. Progress to that confrontation is speeding up. What we're really being told is that alone nobody knows for sure exactly when it will happen or exactly what to risk is the greatest risk man's face man faces. Scientists are fairly unanimous in saying that man does face extremely important race when global population is doubling every thirty three years. When resource consumption is doubling every twenty years. No long term fuel mankind can proceed without first forming some preliminary answers to these questions. Professor Dennis Meadows at a conference in Washington to mark the publication of his team study for the Club of Rome the limits to growth. It concludes that economic growth always generates a crisis but the road to riches is a road to disaster. Even if we thought of problems like pollution growth within a century or so would lead to widespread famine and social chaos. Dennis meadows and his team used a computer he explains why. Was just on Amec some methodology that we use we organize the available information on the relationships and some system and then we express these mathematically put them into a computer to calculate the results it's possible for men to perceive the individual relationships in a system but very difficult indeed. Without any assistance from a computer to understand what their implications will be when they interact. At first sight that doesn't seem to be much relationship between farming and industry but industry produces pollution and pollution affects crops so it change an industry that's X. farming but pollution the manmade weld consist of a whole complex of such relationships like that change one thing and it sets up a slow and complicated chain reaction the equations in the computing to find these relationships so the computer can show how one thing affects everything else not only immediately but over many years. The runs on the computer show how these things would interact and affect man's future. They use the computer to see what would happen if a man successfully tackle these obvious problems if you grew more food more natural resources and control pollution but first they were on the computer to see what the record in the world would take if it ran its present course. As a century unfolds. Industry grows. As this food production and population. But we're using up all our own materials the limited metals and fuel in the air. These run out without fuel and metal for the factory industry collapses. Farming has become highly mechanized and without petrol and electricity food production falls to there's no food and massive unemployment so the population for people are dying. Dennis Meadows explains because of the high population levels and the increasing industrialization natural resources are depleted an increasing rate and finally they fall down to the point where the doctoral system can no longer be sustained What might this mean in human terms to the average western family. Over fifty years or more we get richer we consume more and more resources. Things like gas and electricity. When essential rule materials like oil and copper run out. Civilized life and. If we go on as the society collapses because you've run out of metals and fuel growth is halted by a resource crisis. Science. And. Technology could help us here we might find new sources of fuel use nuclear power or harness the energy of the sun to a place or oil and coal. Metals could be used more carefully we could save them sort out our scrap we might find substitutes for scarce metals. So they were on the computer to see what would happen if we sold the resources problems of course the crisis in the first one. This time natural resources used carefully run down slowly but industry continues to grow this industrial growth produces a serious pollution problem. Pollution attacks both people and plant crops cannot grow and farming starts to fail. The population starts to collapse when people die of hunger and pollution. Industry but I do work force. Collapses too. But now pollution has permitted to rise because industrialisation goes further and finally pollution began singing. Pair of the lifetime of the people and the productivity of their cultural sector. This time then growth is not stopped by resource crisis. Family grows richer. Consuming more and more goods. But the fact is producing these goods also producing pollution this time it is pollution that holds grows in catastrophe. To keep growing we need moral material if we find the materials growth continues to we die of pollution. But we could control pollution. Indeed we already beginning to do so we know how to clean up our water and air the pollution created by technology can be restrained by technology so in the next run there soon not only that we had solved the real materials difficulty of but that we had controlled pollution as well. Their resources still run down slowly. Industry can expand pollution not controlled doesn't become a problem. Growth is progressing. But this time the population growth so large that food becomes a problem. For production cannot keep pace with population people start. An industrial society collapses. In this case the land resources become insufficient pressure on the land began to lead to land a teary aeration and finding food per capita collapses and brings about a population decline. This time the problem is food. Growth provides us with increasing wealth without the population grows food becomes more and more expensive. Growing food shortage turned slowly to famine. Growth is not halted by pollution or. It is halted by a food crisis. But that could be a solution to that to the Green Revolution. Scientists have been able to double and even treble yields we can grow more food. So on the next run as well as pollution controls and the careful use of resources they assumed that food production could be doubled. Resources still used carefully both lonely pollution still controlled is no problem and the food production. Backed by the Green Revolution. Rises the system is experiencing explosive growth the lines go off the graph this growth of industry is so huge and rapid but it certainly generates a pollution problem despite the pollution controls and the industry and the population collapses. Because land is no longer limit to growth in doctor's ation rises to the point where even with the pollution control measures we had before. Portion becomes a very serious problem and again brings about the collapse. We control pollution conserve natural resources and grow more growth is still halted by a pollution problem. Technical Solutions are not sufficient. Aleutian control resource conservation. And the green revolution. Southerly to this soon will lessen the crisis. The obvious is not enough. Runs. Illustrate very succinctly that potion naturist source of pollution are not problem solves the problem is growth in a finite world so long as we ignore that fact and rely on growth over the short term to solve our problems. Overshoot and collapse of the form which we see in the world model seems to us to be absolutely inevitable. And scarcity I'm not really a problem. Their symptoms. Symptoms of growth. But what about population. Was instability due to the pressures of population growth of population the doubles every thirty years that add seventy million extra human being to the planet. Every year there on the computer to investigate what would happen if nothing but population with controlled. Population is stabilized only two children per family. Industrial production and food production said your head I'm pollution rises to the system is growing. But again industry uses too many resources which run out. Bringing down the system yet again. Even with population control and growth brings us up against a resources problem. Said Population control is not sufficient died of they made other writers on the computer. Different combinations of policies however they juggled population controls with pollution controls that resource conservation with food production. The result was a breakdown a breakdown that implies millions of deaths in the collapse of civilized life. What had been the reaction of the informed opinion to the study and its peak prognosis and I think the study makes an important contribution to the environmental dialogue it points up some of the fundamental issues of man is going to have to grapple with if he's going to survive and continue to improve in his position on this planet I think this has two important advantages over other status in this and have been many of the status of the first is the computer. A larger to handle abetted complex situation I mean almost number interrelated acts. So complex that one could not grasp Ollie's within one human mind with a computer can handle those the school A and explore the way they react upon each other and if all that's the first point second point I think is that because you have to put it into a compute you have to get all your assumptions on the table and that means that. The thing is very precise and if someone doesn't like the model of this homes they can see exactly what it's like that and I can take that out and put them in in. Get tix day for costs of Doom of the result of doomsday assumptions make different assumptions change the equation the little you would produce very different results if you put nonsense into a computer they say you'll get nonsense out I think that's a very reasonable response the question comes of course is it possible to put something into the computer which can be defended as reasonable which alters the conclusions I'm rather call couldn't that while in the prestigious nature of our conclusion there will also met Lee be made changes that the general conclusions the fact that growth has a tendency to resolve itself or collapse those conclusions are simply not going to be altered by any reasonably defensible additions to the model. The computer does not predict it sketches the direction in which our world is moving it clarifies some of the conflicts between the natural and the manmade world nature is balanced temple with one part of it and the complex and unexpected will turn up in another part that is what the study shows. Whatever. Technological society to interconnected intervention in one. Food production. Unexpected an unfortunate result elsewhere. It doesn't prophesies but it does give us a new way of seeing the world it is showing us how and why some of the serious problems in to relate. The. Model is simple. Is complex. Approve predictions we see in the study it would appear in the world in much more complex ways the real event if it happens with certainly be more complicated. And different kinds of countries and different ways. It seems obvious to us that decline if it does come will be experienced at different times and in different ways in various societies. United States might conceivably have a natural resource problem. All Japan could conceivably. Fail to cure its pollution problems and be led into difficulty that way some of the last industrialized areas at the same time might be having a food crisis the world is running out of the many things that he made. Fossil fuel for example is the classic example. But food. We are very very short of food and we have two thirds of the world under the knowledge to prove it. A. Report from the World Bank reads what are we to say in which millions of people faced with DAY TO DAY deprivations to degrade human dignity to levels which no statistics can adequately describe. Many many millions of people already starve to death in the world. Pollution is killing people. Not very many the health of a large number of urban dwellers are being is being decreased because of environmental Terry ration. The planet. Places most. People. Is. That evidence that the base forces here and in the model already at work in the world today. See the symptoms and growth in Vietnam and Bangladesh in the crime rate in the state of the great city look at the city in America already the city is falling apart from the centre outwards so that you can walk in the center of the big American cities with running great physical risks. Coveting concreting cause. People can't get help to the center of. The problem. I would go so far as to say that the troubles we see in the process this business of a bug a loaded society that doesn't know how to conduct itself in a long that the. Problem of drugs and the conference right now. Or are these own symptoms of what matters is talking about him I've seen and as symptoms of instability and that is work matters model is telling us. If one looks at the whole world it is becoming better cultivated the most fully. People don't anciently all places in our excess about or open to commas where once were hardly solitary cottages on our large cities. What most frequently meets our viewers are teaming populations are numbers a burdensome to the world. Last nature fails in affording us so usual sustenance. I want to grow more and more keen on our complaints more bitter in all mouse in every deed. Pestilence famine and wars have to be regarded as a remedy for nations as a means of pruning the luxury and so the human race. Those words when I witness report made during the decline of the Roman Empire. A Dark Ages followed. If this study is right then our society is threatened no one knows when or how but if it does mirror the world if we can see on our problems the stresses of growth then the world is unstable. Growth It seems as an object but this so obvious you know way seem true to say that to consider that we can to continually and exponentially as we are doing now. Nothing in the world. Nothing in life just continuously. Growth. Leads. To crisis. What then if we stop getting richer. We're not talking so much about certainty says about risks which no longer into society really should be willing to bear. It's almost as one more playing Russian roulette going there were twenty chamber gone with five different kinds of bullets. One question could be what kind of bullet is it that's going to get you it seems to me a more appropriate question is do we even want to play Russian roulette. Is there an alternative to Russian roulette is it possible to produce a stable world where their policies which would create equilibrium a balanced well. They found that if you control everything including industrial production no crisis you know but this issue that we will stop getting richer. Population was stabilized by effective birth control from one hundred seventy five. Food production is stabilized using modern techniques at a high level. The key factor. Industrial growth was leveled off in one hundred seventy five. To enabling pollution also carefully controlled to be kept within bounds. Resources carefully used are falling gradually. When these are implemented in nine hundred seventy we see that the world system is capable of moving into an equilibrium society a stable state system which can be so stained as long as we analyze it through the computer. What is being suggested is that the only way to ensure the future for our grandchildren is to stop getting richer. And the then will lead the the resources and the UN polluted well that they will need to survive the. Classic assumption with economic growth was what society had to do was being proven wrong it is obvious that our instabilities are caused by this endless. Tend to increase output. Called it just output. All right James have got to be directed to looking after people who haven't got anything and to reorganise reorganizing our own society so that it doesn't have this building instability which we now have because of the growth so moment. But we expect to get richer. Growth promises a better tomorrow. We all know the trade unionists the politician the businessmen all expect growth because we expect more we are careless of what we have much of it. To put we junk you. See. Seventy percent of this tip should not be here you know the metals that we grow short of here is the oil if we transform with the plastic here and so forth we turned into paper. Resources our children may need to wrap up our food to pretty are shocking. Nor his wealth solve many of our social problems. Tempted by the trivia of affluence that's not enough money for housing or the pool you. Thank you thank you. All from old ecological something like soap. Wall and blogs have been replaced by detergent synthetic fibers and plastics the new ways not only for you but use up resources we cannot replace detergents for example but you river and he was off all. The benefits of growth so obvious the costs. Obscure at first growth seems fine. Take the motor car for example. Motor cars provide an escape route from the concrete cities into the countryside they have provided millions with the opportunity to travel in the night to exploring into this is evidence. Congested right in there were many cars have destroyed the very freedom that the motor car gave us now there's only sixty five yards of road we each of Britain's Motoko. London's motorway plan will cost two thousand million. That money could house two and a half million people and build two hundred new schools. Lead is a scarce metal forty percent of the world's lead production is added to petrol the. Recorder of London is wrote. The book was produced sixty percent of our air pollution the parts of our children will have a car accident. Each accidents caused clean hundred and twenty million pounds and seven thousand black. Car driven from Lance Armstrong a great resource much oxygen was a man a lifetime. To manufacture a car requires a hundred thousand gallons of water each of these cars is used two thousand five hundred pounds of steel fifty four pounds of the ink. Fifty one pounds of lead thirty two pounds of copper and some alum in Yemen. The question the study talks of equilibrium it is talking about holding this kind of group the kind that consumes resources and pollute the environment but what would he could he be in be like for people. I just think it could be extremely blessed. We're not suggesting idea to ration material standards as being necessary to an extent which should in fact frighten many people. Many things can be all Ghanaians great deal better materially no for example they clustering of cities with cars is disadvantage is as great as its advantages but I think that there are there is a POS of the world has the possibilities with a little bit of distribution unorganized. Well providing a decent life with flexibility and freedom for people but was enormous possibilities of leisure social development to stick development I think it could be used to be a much much richer life that we have today there's going to be a shift away from an emphasis on material goods to one on the social services there has to be a shift which views man as part of a total system rather than as man a person who has been given a system for his exploitation. But the idea of dynamic of a deeply embedded in society. To stop it challenges some of the basic assumptions we make about the. Missing. All right this is his family based on the assumption of craft to produce profit to reinvest and grow is quite literally it's business already only. Six hundred fifty. The poor of the well look to economic growth for a way out of their poverty and starvation. In. The West it gives us the increasing standard of living we've grown to expect. Science and technology to have been harnessed in the service and growth can such. A powerful drive. Economic and political social and support the idea to be read. Changes must be made in our economic system and our politics and. DO YOU. WANT TO must we change. Since the will has been created by improved technology as they have provided us with cheaper goods and industrialist with larger profit but the impact of science is one sided. Most ecologist including those with graduations about the study. Agree on this. Most difficulties of we face in the United States and I'm sure it's true to have developed as a result of technological transformation since World War two This is the period in which the environmental crisis has become so intense. During that period. The US and I think also engaged in a very intense research program in biology and medicine. When I'm president of the person at that size and intensity and so here we were. With him and pressured into research effort in biology and all the while the biological system on which we depend was being degraded without being aware of it and. I mean. We're taking a looking at the pot industry technology took that knowledge and exploited it but nobody was looking at what was happening to the system. To be changes would eventually be it was quite simply. Thing I think is that it's the dismemberment of science into isolated specialties and their failure to develop. A complex pattern which matches the complexity of nature. Which has kept science rather isolated from a problem like the environmental crisis where nature exists as a whole. We need to look less like the way things are the way that they relate and change. Can we create the technology consistent with nature. When we talk about shifting to equilibrium we're not talking about shifting to a state which will lock in the poorer areas to a permanently inferior status I personally don't believe there's any possibility of having a viable long term solution which leaves such a glaring disqualifies we must expect the said will to fight for the cake. It is completely absurd to think that they are going to stop growing when they haven't got a thing. So I believe that unless the rich part of the world makes a plan B. begins to spend real money in adjusting the balance between the two there will be absolute. I mean physical violence it's it's inevitable I miss these plans made. Development has proved unstable but former bad development take. Effect means equality between nations. Does it mean more equality within nations. Well this is going to be a very difficult one because business is always Go ahead On the assumption that they're going to be bigger and more profitable than last year and I don't think this can possibly go. And businesses have got to step on with everything else in society. My feeling is that since environmental analysis along with many other things. Reveals to me anyway that the private enterprise system is simply incapable of staying off a suicidal course. That the system will simply have to be changed. Pelham. Can business as we know it survived the transition. If so how will it be changed if not what will replace it. So what do we do about population. How will we control the desire to have children. How do we change the idea that. Other people usually the poor. Today the economy has to grow by about two percent just to keep people in work. Without group it would be less work of the kind we do today. For good or bad is what most people now do most of the time. In the stable state. Well could become much less important. Things like this about change I think it's high time we gave up the sure it's amazing that he's the only good. Sound ways of organizing society so that people could do more is what they wanted those tools Mason will take care of work if you plan it that way. There might be more subtle changes with less work with children with different patterns of consumption. Family life might change to conserve resources things like motor cars and washing machines might be shared by larger groups of people like to see people experiencing was like communes things of this kind because unless we make those experiments we are not going to be able to adjust to this different kind of world. It's important I think to realize when we talk about this. Stable state that that describes a large number of possible alternatives we're not talking about some uniform society which would blanket the globe certainly not talking about that type of uniformity. We're talking about a system in which the various balances between material output in population can be engineered more or less to suit the particular objectives of a society. Equably movie a very different way and it could also be a very bad it was a world with all kinds of society but they were all bases that is radically different from if. It is right in this study of a watershed in human history. It's only revolutionary in its very nature. To the two we've had revolutions thrust upon us by people who couldn't stand it any longer and then there is bloodshed and all sorts of Harras we now know I contend that we have to have a revolution and we ought to be able to Tenet's let's not overlook the fact that human society has gone through a number of revolutions in their implications even perhaps more profound than the one we're talking about today. Just at the dawn of reading of history of man's history we saw a transformation from hunting and gathering and nomadism to settle agriculture the impact of that are man's religion on his institutions on his view of himself. Were enormously profound the shift from rural to industrialized man it has been an enormous change. Schaeffer most primarily every cultural talk primarily urban population has an enormous impact. Already society respects its origins. Industrial revolution that's evolution moulded our institutions changed our politics and shaped our lives. The stability revolution Librium revolution whatever future historians choose to call it. Also shape and change the way we did. The. Study has a sting in its tail. Way short of time we have to act soon to keep our options open. This study and others show that there's a point beyond which it is difficult to pull back from disaster. And I'm a layman but I received a lot of scientific evidence and my impression of that evidence is clearly that the decisions which man takes in the next in the next decade or two that it is coming generations are really going to determine his future too many of these things are going to be difficult if not impossible to reverse. If we are not prepared to play and face them and to reorient our activities and our attitudes. On a global scale if we and I think that is possible but it's probably the biggest single task that mankind has ever faced. We can maintain for self today a very much higher material standard of living. But at a cost. Very likely of decreasing the options which exist for people to fifty or one hundred years from now our children our grandchildren so this to limit between satisfying needs in the short term and satisfying them on the long term is perhaps the most fundamental one become so. If that's the case then what can we do know it's important to do rule one should have a concept of the world as a whole and should avoid as far as possible bring up their children in any sense of local Patrick Islam nationalism and it's important for you I think to realize that you have really the right only to have two children. To expect that you're going to have to make short term sacrifices if they're to have a decent environment in the resources necessary to pursue the kind of life that they should have first of all inform yourself first of all become interested then let your political leaders both locally and nationally know that you're interested and show them that you're informed then look at your own habits as consumers as producers in the things that you do in your daily life and ask yourself what effect they're having on the whole problem are they making a positive contribution are you or are you part of the problems is it necessary to buy the kinds of products that you do and there's no possible perhaps to use some time but longer and slow down the flow of material goods for your household. This tons issue and so on the president also side the for the new society which would be a balance with its environment and within depends on all of us on all of you and that would require political factions. Men So the first time in the history of man. I have the opportunity to design the society they want and the resources to put that into a sect that is the guts of the message to me we have to think out just what society do we what we can have it you know. We have to imagine what world we would like. Babs it seems children could live. In a man. Or one you've met. An ordinary.
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Subject: Metadata incorrect?
Subject: Metadata incorrect?
Great film, but I believe the metadata is for a different film of the same name. This film is the version produced by Thames Television:
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